Sunday, October 30, 2011

Born Standing Up by Steve Martin

A memoir published in 2007, I'm just now getting around to hearing it. Ah, audiobooks read by the author. Martin even sings in it.

I'm an eh fan of Martin. I have never seen The Jerk, loved The Three Amigos and really like his books. So I'm not sure exactly where I stand with him, I guess. Either way, this book is about his rise to fame in the stand up comedy world and it doesn't go much further than The Jerk.

Martin delves back to his life growing up in Waco, moving to California and getting his first job at DisneyLand. I had no idea that he was a magician (having learned the tricks at Disney's magic shop) and really never paid any attention to his stand up act (before my time). As he describes his time trying to become famous and what his act consisted of, I'm pretty sure I wouldn't have found it funny. But for some reason, having listened to him telling me his story, I find him more likable and endearing. Go figure.

I'm not sure how the book would read on its own but I would highly recommend the audiobook just for the singing and banjo playing.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Diane: A Signature Life by Diane von Furstenberg

I love reading memoirs, mainly because memoirs are not bios, but the stories the author wants to tell. Naturally, memoirs are usually happier endings, better memories and more outrageous stories.

This one is by Diane von Furstenberg. Her wrap dress and shirt dress made her a fashion icon and she details how she got to live out the American dream. She was born in Belgium in 1946 (same year as my mom!) and she is the daughter of an Holocaust survivor. Her parents split and she ended up spending time in Paris but longing to come to America. After marrying Prince von Furstenberg, she did just that, bringing with her samples of her wrap dress and shirt dress.

She is the "immigrant-done-good" story to a T, even if she was a Princess. Diane describes her rise to the top of the fashion world, but does go into how she fell out of it and ended up selling off her name in the form of licenses. She made some bad (naive) decisions but clearly she came back pretty well.

There's quite a bit of name dropping in this book as well as detailed travel trips. You really never feel sorry for her, even when things start going badly, because her version of bad is definitely not mine. When things are bad for me, I can't jet off to Bali and pick up a man. Or, at least, I haven't tried that....

Fun background for any reader who likes their fashion stories.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Garlic and Sapphires by Ruth Reichl

I actually forget where I heard about this book, but any book about food usually ranks high on my list. The subtitle of this book is "The Secret Life of a Critic in Disguise" and that's exactly what it is.

Reichl was the New York Times restaurant critic for 6 years and she went through various incarnations of herself to get in and out of restaurants without being noticed. Notice I said incarnations of herself vs disguises. As you read how Reichl (with help from her friends) puts together the disguises, she really embodies each person and finds that each person is really a part of her (some are kind of mean though).

As much as I love reading about food, I love eating it. My health problems cause me to have to avoid a lot of foods that sound wonderful so I live vicariously through food books. Reichl is a great writer with the ability to bring you right down at the table with her. It helps she includes several of her favorite recipes as well.

Better than reading about food is cooking it. Thanks to my dad, I can cook and bake pretty well and spend a lot of time in my kitchen. With the thoughts of the food from Garlic and Sapphires, I'm adjourning to the kitchen to come up with another great meal.